Despite UFC president Dana White claiming that the rematch between middleweight champ Israel Adesanya and Whittaker (23-5 MMA, 14-3 UFC) is in the works for January, Bareman says no formal offers have come through to the champion yet.
Bareman argued that Brunson’s recent strength of schedule has been more impressive than Whittaker’s since they both lost to Adesanya (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC), which makes him just as worthy of a challenger.
“I just assumed Brunson because, look, Brunson, I believe since he last fought Israel, is on a five-fight streak,” Bareman told “Submission Radio.” “And Robert, I believe, is on a three.”
He continued, “So, Brunson’s had five wins since he fought Israel, and Robert’s had three. Brunson also had Till, Holland, Shahbazyan, and he had a couple more. So, yeah. Till they’ve got in common. You got Shahbazyan, another up-and-comer, and then Holland. Those three names are just as big as the three names that Robert’s built. Plus, Brunson’s got Theodorou and Heinisch, did you say? So, yeah, that’s just my logic. He seems to have put his hand up the highest and looks like he’s going to be next. … Everything’s in favor of Brunson when you look at it on paper.”
“At the moment, it looks like Brunson’s body of work since he’s been beaten by Israel is more impressive than Robert’s body of work. There’s going to be people that argue Robert beat Brunson. Yeah, he did. But that was in 2016. Because that was so long ago, it kind of makes that null and void. So yeah, I’m in Vegas right now. It’s only a couple of texts to get a quick meeting and try to figure this out.”
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Following his win over Darren Till earlier this month, Brunson (23-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) called Adesanya out and said he’s even willing to challenge the champion in enemy territory. Although that’s highly unlikely with New Zealand’s current quarantine rules, Bareman explained that it makes sense for Adesanya to rematch Brunson first, in hopes of the country’s restrictions tapering down in time for a showdown with Whittaker on home soil.
“For me, you’re only arguing if there’s a possibility that New Zealand and Australia get better, then that’s a better domestic fight,” Bareman said. “So then do Brunson. Do Brunson now, do Robert later. Given that there might be possibility that that fight might be able to happen Down Under again or in New Zealand.
“So, then that’s just a stronger argument that maybe we should do Brunson now and reap the rewards of doing another big domestic fight with the possibility that our countries might come right and open up by then. So, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bit more incentive, but yeah, look, there’s two very good opponents that have clawed their way back and put their hand up, and it’s going to be one of those two, I believe.”
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